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- Year in Review: Highlights and Memorable Moments from 2023
Hello, and welcome to the Scruff Life Photography blog! I'll write a proper introduction post with a brief history of SLP soon, but I wanted to start off with a year in review of 2023 while it's still early in the year. This is not an exhaustive list of what was captured, but just a short list of some of the memorable moments. In January 2023, I celebrated two full years of Scruff Life Photography by embracing the cold and very snowy winter weather in Minnesota with some adventure and winter sports photography! Later in the month, I hit the trails of Minnesota's North Shore to photograph the incredible John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon with my friend and occasional assistant photographer, Brooke! We spent three full days outside in the negative degree temperatures to capture everything we possibly could from the 300+ mile mushing race from Duluth, MN to Grand Portage, MN. I'll write a blog to recap that entire experience some day! February kicked off with another sled dog race, this time on Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior, MN for the Klondike Dog Derby. This race is a unique glimpse into the sport of mushing as it is set up to be much more spectator-friendly compared to traditional long-distance races. It was a joy to witness the excitement along with the hundreds of others there on the shores and in town! From there, I had two more adventure sessions in the beautiful snow and cold with some wild and adventurous dog moms. One of my favorite events from 2023 was the adoptable pets photo event in March at Tonkadale Greenhouse. I teamed up with my pet photographer friends, Kelly of K Schulz Photography and Kirsten of KME Photography to photograph nearly 40 adoptable dogs, cats, and pocket pets to help them find their forever families. Kelly also wrote an amazing blog post about this event. We are planning a return for 2024, so keep an eye out if you or someone you know fosters animals. The snow was still hanging on in Minnesota as we transitioned from winter into spring, but that didn't put a damper on Johnathan's Celebration Session. The sky came alive and we were treated to an absolutely break-taking sunset for this session. You know what they say about April showers and May flowers? Well, it was mostly April snow, but the May flowers part was true! I had an opportunity to shoot a session in a beautiful flower garden in Minneapolis with Lucy and her dog mom, Michelle! Also in Minneapolis, I photographed a very photogenic rescue puppy named Skye and that session quickly became one of my favorites for how precious he was in every photo. Summer was busy in the best way! I photographed eleven dogs from June to August, not including the sunflower sessions. Several sessions were in familiar locations, but a few had me out of my comfort zone and shooting in new places like Como Park and the campus of St. Kate's in St. Paul. The highlight from summer was photographing Kona and Cassandra on a paddle board together, doing what they love to do together in the summer! August was also my second year offering sunflower mini photo sessions for people and their pets at Green Barn Garden Center's Sunflower Days (Isanti, MN). In addition to the eleven dogs that attended mini sessions with me, I also got to meet eight more that participated in Green Barn's sunflower costume contest for the pups! This is a fun time of year and I look forward to my time out amongst the beautiful sunflowers! How cute are all of these sunflower dogs?! Also in August, and how could I forget... my artwork was accepted in the Minnesota State Fair's Fine Arts Exhibition. They accept around 10% of entries, so this was a huge honor and to be included on my first try was so incredible! To top it off, many of you made your way out to the fair and stopped to see my photo and sent me selfies with it! Thank you so much to everyone that did that -- it was so special. The photo is from my trip to photograph the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. It is of the bacon lady tent at the Sawbill Checkpoint in the early morning hours of the mandatory layover for the mushers. I took some time off in September to go on a grand adventure with my fiancé and our dog, Conway! We went on a roadtrip through North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and South Dakota -- stopping at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Custer State Park, Badlands National Park, and Blue Mounds State Park before heading home. Grand Teton ended up being my favorite of the bunch, but we also saw our first moose in Idaho, so that was also a truly unforgettable experience! Fall is, in my opinion, the perfect season in Minnesota and this year was no exception. I had three very special fall photo sessions in the beautiful fall foliage with some new faces and some familiar ones. Lastly, I offered pumpkin patch mini photo sessions for the very first time this year and I loved seeing everyone and their pups out at the patch for some spooky season photos! To round out the year, I finally found a graphic designer that I absolutely loved and decided to go all in on new branding for Scruff Life Photography! Cindy Roaming Designs was so fun to work with. She fully embraced my vision for the brand and created the cutest logo and submarks and other graphics. I'm feeling so ready and fresh headed into the new year and can't wait to continue to show off the amazing work that Cindy did! It was a year for the books at Scruff Life Photography! Thank you to everyone that booked a session with me, ordered a photo or a product from me, supported me through liking, commenting, or sharing any of my posts on social media, and for telling your friends and family about my photography. I appreciate each and every one of you and I'm so grateful to have this opportunity to capture these memories of you and your pets together. I hope you all have a fantastic 2024 and if you are ever feeling like you need a few more photos with your pet, I'll be here! :) Please say 'hi' to your dog for me! Lauren